Montana Island Challenge sets pace with new events, location

The early bird deadline for the sixth Wells Fargo Montana Island Challenge is quickly approaching.

The Montana Island Challenge will feature a circuit bike race, an obstacle course mud run, a half marathon, a 5K run and a 6-mile hike/run on July 8 in the South Moccasin Mountains.

“I am excited about our events,” said Abby Franks, event coordinator. “With the obstacle run, I can see families coming with kids and really enjoying themselves, or the bike race because bikers are hard core, fun people. Also, each of the running events because running and hiking are so enjoyable and therapeutic when you cross the finish line.”

The Montana Island Challenge’s half marathon race has been named part of the Treasure State Trail Series, as well. The half marathon event has been gaining popularity over the past few years.

“The Wells Fargo Montana Island Challenge has grown steadily over the past few years – most recently having near 200 participants,” said Franks. “In the half marathon, we hosted 30 participants.”

This year’s event will take place at the Cottonwood Log Cabins resort located on Lower Cottonwood Road just 10 miles northwest of Lewistown.

“The host, Al Lake, is one of the nicest guys around,” said Franks. “And, his land is 100 percent fantastic with mountains, prairie, trails, running creeks, wildlife, cabins to rent and land to camp on – it’s truly a great place.”

The Montana Island Challenge began as a way to showcase Central Montana’s beauty and raise funds for three youth organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Lewistown, Central Montana Jaycees and Lewistown Ice Skating Association.

“Central Montana is a landscape of beauty – truly where the mountains meet the prairies,” said Franks. “Youth organizations gathered together to start an event that would capture and showcase this great beauty and raise funds for the important youth they serve.”

The Montana Island Challenge was named for Central Montana’s unique mountain range system.

“Our mountains are unique in that they are not a part of a larger mountain range such as the Rocky Mountains. They host their own uniqueness that literally surrounds the Lewistown community,” explained Franks. “Lewistown is actually nicknamed “snow-hole” because of how the mountains sit in a circular shape around our community. We tend to be greener in the summer and whiter in the winter because of how these mountains contain the clouds holding water.”

The Montana Island Challenge fun begins at noon on Saturday, July 8. Those wishing to participate may register online at and reserve a cabin or campsite at Cottonwood Log Cabins online at The event’s Early Bird Special ends on Thursday, June 1.

“The Wells Fargo Montana Island Challenge is special in that it is a neat part of Montana – you get the spectacular views but we are not closed off in viewing the ‘Big Sky’ of Montana,” Franks concluded. “We are excited for you to join us.”


How much time do you spend using a computer or smart phone during a typical day?